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Monday, March 08, 2004

Save The HubbleAs many of you probably know, NASA has decided not to launch a mission in 2006 that would extend the Hubble Space Telescope's life until 2010. Instead, it will launch "an unmanned robotic vehicle to guide Hubble toward a safe crash landing in the ocean." An official of the Space Telescope Science Institute, the management agency of the telescope, is quoted as saying that the mission would comprise about 1% of NASA's budget. Considering how much amazing data the telescope has been able to find, and how much potential data will be lost in between the time the telescope crashes and its replacement is launched (supposedly in 2011, although who knows for sure?), I am amazed that NASA isn't trying harder to find a solution.

I signed the petition at Save The Hubble, and I strongly encourage everyone interested in the telescope's fate to do so as well. In the meantime, check out the many posts I've made about the Hubble Telescope that show just how much we will be losing if we allow it to be destroyed before its time...

Update: The day after I posted this, NASA published the results from the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, a million-second exposure of a "dark" region of the universe that revealed the farthest galaxies ever seen. The survey included galaxies with a redshift of 12, indicating that they existed just 400 million years after the Big Bang (the current accepted age of the universe is 13-14 billion years).

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